The climate in the Holy land is reasonably predictable and seasonal. Summers can get hot especially in the months of July and August and quite chilly in the winter, particularly in the northern hills. Snow occasionally falls on the hills and Mount Hermon in the north turns into a ski resort in the winter. Rain falls only during the winter, but is often more sunny than cloudy. In the summer, the Holy Land suffers for days at a time the hot desert wind known in Arabic as 'khamseen" (meaning fifty). Jerusalem summers although hot in the daytime, are fairly cool at night requiring a sweater.
The Israeli currency is the Shekel (NIS). Exchange rates fluctuate on a daily basis with one (1) US Dollar equaling approximately 3.6 NIS. Most stores and hotels also accept US dollars as well as other foreign currencies. Cash and traveler's checks are always recommended. Credit cards are also a good exchange media, and more often than expected, personal checks may be accepted.
Israeli money can be exchanged at Banks or Money Changers.
Tourist visas for Israel, Jordan or any other Middle Eastern destination should be obtained from your local respective embassies or consulates. US citizens do not need visas to visit Israel.
The Holy Land is 2 hours ahead of GMT, 7 hours ahead of US EST and 10 hours ahead of PST.
Israel also uses daylights savings with similar dates as those in the United States.
When visiting the Holy Land, two sets of clothing should be taken. Conservative attire should be worn when visiting religious shrines and Jewish Orthodox areas. For women and men, shorts are not acceptable at these sites. Women should wear skirts or pants , men should stick with pants. Tank tops are also not allowed in religious sites.
Traditional western clothing is appropriate in the Middle East.
All types of food are available in the Holy Land, from Big Macs to Falafel Sandwiches. Local fast food is fairly inexpensive and delicious. You can find falafel sandwiches, shawerma (similar to Gyros in the U.S.), Lahm wa Ajeen (Meat Pizza), Kababs, Hummos as well as Italian pizza and hamburgers.
Sit down dining is a fun experience with the traditional Palestinian dips and antipasto, barbecued lamb and chicken. When in Tiberias and the Galilee, fish is a must.
Most hotels offer full buffet breakfasts.
All western type foods are available in grocery stores and supermarkets such as cereal and peanut butter.
Sodas, beer and liquor are available in most places. If you are a beer drinker, we recommend Taybeh Beer. It is the first Palestinian Micro Beer, with excellent body and flavor.